#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 17 – First Sighting

My cheeks are pink; the wind delights in pinching them as we push against it, determined to reach the quayside. Overhead, spilled milk decorates the sky. No heavy rain clouds in sight, yet droplets defiantly needle through the air, fine prickles at first, then heavier.

We huddle under the bridge, watching black-headed gulls (wearing their winter plumage, aside from a few brave individuals) circle and dive as a family attempts to offer the ducks afternoon treats. The ducks barely get a look in and the pigeons, ever wisely, stay well away until the screech retreats and they can pick at the crumbs.

Something large torpedoes along the river, leaving its shadow dancing on the surface. Charcoal wings outstretched and neck long, beak kissed with hints of orange; this pinch of midnight is magnificent against the gulls’ luminous whites and soft greys. A mirage, I wonder? A trick of the eye?

Later, I consult my bird guidebook: a cormorant, it says. Warm sparks ignite in my chest at the discovery – to my knowledge, it’s the first I’ve seen. Pulling the memory close, I clutch it like treasure and mount the scene lovingly in my mind-album, there to look back on whenever I need to.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. Being autistic, nature is often my only place of solace, and I want to do all I can to protect it. As I’m not very comfortable around other people, most of the standard ways of helping out (volunteering, sport-style fundraisers etc) were not a good fit for me, so I came up with #52weeksofnaturepoetry, where I have to post a nature poem here on this blog each week for an entire year without fail.

If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!

Poetry

A Haunting

I see ghosts of footsteps all over my world,

my mind palace

is haunted by them

and the words spoken with every tread.

Stamped into my core

so I can never forget them.

 

The footsteps are all different sizes

and some voices I refuse to listen to.

But there is one I love to recall,

and it is the same one

which leaves new ghosts everyday

with words more energetic and meandering than the last.

 

Every so often, I will etch

a line it has spoken

into my breath cloud,

a reminder to you that what you say

will always stay with me.

Poetry

Finish line

It struck me as rain from a light cloud

hit by the silvery rays of the moon.

A month later, it had solidified

to become blocks of crystal

that I neatly began shaping into

the foundations of a wall.

Three months after that, the wall

stood the same height as me.

Then it overtook me,

and grew into a cliff

I was struggling to climb.

The more I tried,

the further I slipped.

But determination is a strong summon,

and when I took a moment

to combine it with time,

the cliff melted

and showed me the shining words within.

Poetry

Home

Where is home?

 

Is it the place you’ve always resided,

storing memories as well as old clothes,

decorations, exercise equipment adorned with drying washing,

a teaspoon left on the draining board

after a hastily made cuppa?

 

Or is it the place where the people you love

greet you every time you appear,

whether it’s for an hour

or a week?

A place where you can be who you are,

no holding back,

and be totally, completely, accepted.

 

Where blood is not necessary to feel part of the family,

only warm smiles,

several helpings of tender sarcasm

and words that always bring

lightness of step

whenever they’ve been uttered.

Poetry

Set aside

There are rocks at my feet,

all folded and crumpled,

fossilised words of untold errors.

Lists filling scrolls lie about the room,

checking for correct procedures

and slips in elegant form.

Tirelessly, I work through the night

organising scores

to serve as light music to others

who dream

of shelves of paper notes

holding keys to doors

hidden from most.

Poetry

A serving of shells and gems

On the table in the quiet inn

are spent bullets, spelling out the words

‘You are empty’.

You stare at them;

everyone you’ve spoken to before

seems to reinforce

the message as true.

 

Then in the palm of your hand

a warmth spreads out to your fingertips.

You look up to see the barmaid

grinning at you mysteriously, motioning to wave your hand

over the bullets.

 

You do so,

and before your eyes

they turn into gems

polished so brightly

that their brilliance overshadows

all the scars the bullets left on your skin.

 

‘You gave me this power?’ you ask the maid.

‘No,’ she replies,

‘it was yours to begin with.’

Poetry

Rain

We can walk together along the path

of browns and golds, an orange here and there,

we can chat about how things are –

home, jobs, family, hobbies –

we can look up at the darkening sky,

glee in our eyes,

and stick out our tongues

ready to catch those first drops

weeping down from the clouds.

 

Or we could laugh at the time you fell

in that shallow puddle,

which actually turned out to be quite deep.